Defending V8 Supercars champions TeamVodafone has revealed its co-driver line-up for the 2012 endurance season.
The announcement came at the unveiling of the team's new livery scheme ahead of the upcoming V8 Supercars Championship series.
Paul Dumbrell and Warren Luff will join Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes at the Sandown and Bathurst endurance events, and 2011 Gold Coast 600 race winners SÃ©bastien Bourdais and Richard Lyons are confirmed for the international driver event on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
With three separate co-driver events playing a pivotal role in the series, TeamVodafone has secured racers it believes will best assist the team to its goal of back-to-back championship wins.
TeamVodafone Team Principal Adrian Burgess said motivation and momentum within the team was at an all-time high, noting the selection of a high-calibre co-driver lineup as a significant coup.
“TeamVodafone enjoyed its most successful year in V8 Supercars in 2011, ending the season with the ultimate scenario of having both drivers in the running for the title, nail biting stuff for us and fantastic for our naming rights sponsor Vodafone,” said Burgess.
“We've hit the ground running in 2012 and are well-prepared for the season to start.
“We're especially pleased to have locked in a quality co-driver lineup for Sandown and Bathurst, and the international race on the Gold Coast.
“Paul and Warren have extensive experience as full-time V8 Supercar drivers, and we welcome the return of SÃ©bastien Bourdais and Richard Lyons who were both race winners in 2011.”
Thrilled to be driving alongside Whincup in the Sandown and Bathurst endurance events, Dumbrell said: “This is an incredible opportunity. It is a privilege to drive for the team that has dominated the V8 Supercar Championship throughout the last 5 years. It is also great to be driving alongside of one of my good friends Jamie Whincup.
“I have been very lucky to drive for a number of leading teams within the category, but I head to TeamVodafone the most excited I've been throughout my career, albeit in a different role.”
“October can't come soon enough,” exclaimed Luff. “I am very excited at the prospect of joining Team Vodafone for this year's endurance races. They have proven to be the team to beat over the last 5 years and Craig's record at Bathurst speaks for itself.
“As a driver, Bathurst is held in the highest regard and as a kid I remember watching Bathurst and being in complete awe of the event, this year will be my 11th Bathurst start and without doubt the best chance I have ever had to win.”
Returning to the TeamVodafone fold again for the first time since 2007, Lyons is no stranger to V8 Supercar racing, having driven for the team at Sandown and Bathurst in 2006 and 2007 and tasting victory with Mark Winterbottom in the second race of the Gold Coast 600 in 2011, but this will be the first time he's driven a Holden V8 Supercar.
“I'm thrilled to be back driving again with TeamVodafone as they gave me my first chance to drive a V8 Supercar,” said the 32 year old Irishman.
“Since I last drove with the team they have enjoyed amazing success, it's an honour to be selected to drive for them in the Gold Coast 600.
“Last year was my first time to drive the Gold Coast track and my first time driving a tin-top around a street circuit. It's a really tough course and an extremely high pressure weekend for the co-drivers as it's on the run to the Championship finish, everything counts!
“This will be my first time driving a Holden and I'm really looking forwards to seeing the difference, especially a TeamVodafone Commodore. It's hard not to have high expectations this year with already a win and a podium from last year but as always I'll give it everything.”
After enjoying podium success with Jamie Whincup in 2011, SÃ©bastien Bourdais was delighted to be joining up with the team again.
“It is great to be back for another year with TeamVodafone. We had an awesome run in 2011 and I couldn't have been any happier with the way things went.”
“Hopefully, we will be in the same position coming to Surfers with the championship lead and a lot of success. I have faith in Craig and Jamie to make it happen and I wish them both a great start to the season.”
Looking to the year ahead, Lowndes said: “I'm really excited about 2012 we are starting the season with all our ducks in a row and hope to kick the year how we finished.
“I'm looking forward to teaming up with Warren. We know each other fairly well, having driven together in the Bathurst 12 Hour and also at Nurburgring last year.
“It is reassuring that we have such strong drivers supporting us all of our endurance events. Both SÃ©bastien Bordais and Richard Lyons did a great job at last year's Gold Coast 600 and I am sure they will support us well in 2012.”
Delighted with the co-driver line-up, Whincup added: “The last couple of years we have been very lucky in having excellent co-drivers for the endurance races and this year is no exception.
“I will be driving with Paul Dumbrell at Sandown and Bathurst so once again I will be paired with a good mate of mine. I look forward to working with him during the year and making sure we are on our A-game come the middle of September.
“Our Gold Coast 600 co-drivers were both on the podium last years. I enjoyed great success with Sebastien Bordais last year and Richard Lyons, who drove for the team in 2006 and 2007 won the Sunday race with Mark Winterbottom.”